We often sing the beautiful song, written by James Lowell, “Once to every man and nation, Comes the moment to decide, In the strife of truth with falsehood, For the good or evil side; some great cause, God’s new Messiah, Offering each the bloom or blight, And the choice goes by forever, Twixt that darkness and that light.”
This song goes with Elijah’s message, “How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him.” 1 Kings 18:21
We have come to the time when every man, woman, and child has to make the final decision for life or for death, between truth and falsehood, between good and evil. Every person has a time of visitation, when the Lord calls him, and if this call is refused, it may never be repeated.
We cannot find God; we cannot repent without the Holy Spirit bringing us to repentance. But when God comes to us, then we may respond and find salvation. We read in Job 33:14, “For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.” This may be the final invitation.
In a church meeting, we may hear the call, and to someone it may be the last appeal; and if it is refused, then the mind will be darkened, and the truth will be to him a foolishness. After this, the most solemn appeals will have no effect on him. His chance to choose has gone by forever. This may have happened already, even to rebellious children.
This call is not only to decide if we want to serve God or not. We may be baptized church members, and yet there may be sin in our life, unfaithfulness in one point of God’s requirements. Time after time God is calling us to work out a reformation, and put this sin away from our lives, and if we refuse, then God may call us once more with a very solemn appeal. If even then we refuse, then there will be silence forever, and we will be shaken out from the church of God. This sin may be a neglected duty, similar to the servant who had one talent and did not use it.
We read Hosea, “Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.” Hosea 4:17. “The spirit of hatred which has existed with some because the wrongs among God’s people have been reproved has brought blindness and a fearful deception upon their own souls, making it impossible for them to discriminate between right and wrong. They have put out their own spiritual eyesight. They may witness wrongs, but they do not feel as did Joshua and humble themselves because the danger of souls is felt by them.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 266
“I have been shown that the greatest reason why the people of God are now found in this state of spiritual blindness is that they will not receive correction. Many have despised the reproofs and warnings given them. The True Witness condemns the lukewarm condition of the people of God, which gives Satan great power over them in this waiting, watching time.” –Ibid., p. 255
The spiritually blind person cannot see his own spiritual condition, he cannot see his own great need, he thinks that he is rich, and increased with goods, and has need of nothing, while the True Witness says that he is wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked (Revelation 3:17).
“Those who have an opportunity to hear the truth, and yet take no pains to hear or understand it, thinking that if they do not hear, they will not be accountable, will be judged guilty before God the same as if they had heard and rejected. There will be no excuse for those who choose to go in error when they might understand what is truth. In his sufferings and death Jesus has made atonement for all sins of ignorance, but there is no provision for willful blindness.” –The Review and Herald, April 25, 1893
If we neglect Bible study or meetings, then our blindness is willful, and the Lord will do nothing to open our eyes to see. In this blindness we can make terrible mistakes and make wrong decisions.
Christ and Barrabas were set before the Jews, and they had to choose one of these two. With all the knowledge of the Bible prophesies and the law, they made the wrong choice, which sealed the eternal destiny for some of them.
Cain and Abel had a choice, and in his blindness, Cain made the wrong decision. His decision was made from the wrong spirit, from the wrong motives, and from hatred and jealousy.
Saul and David, the two kings of Israel had both committed sins. King Saul tried to defend his sin and to excuse it in his blindness. His sin was not forgiven. It is a terrible blindness if we try to excuse and defend our wrong doings, to say, “I see nothing wrong in it, it is not so bad, others make mistakes also.”
David, on the other hand, humbly confessed his sin, “I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgression unto the LORD; and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.” Psalm 32:5
David’s sin was from human weakness, but the sin of Saul was rebellion. “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, He hath also rejected thee from being king.” 1 Samuel 15:23
The people of Nineveh repented of their sins and therefore they were forgiven, and the destruction did not take place. “So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.” Jonah 3:5
If we refuse to conform to the laws and commandments of God, it is called rebellion: it may be in tithe paying, health reform, Sabbath keeping, dress reform, or any other commandment that God has given. We will lose our spiritual eyesight if we willfully disobey God even in one point, and if this happens on our judgment day, then all will be lost forever.
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem the last time, offering Himself to the people as their King and their Saviour, had they accepted Him, the Jewish nation would have remained His chosen people. The Roman army would have left them alone, and the city would not have been destroyed. But their eyes were blinded, and they made a terrible decision.
As Jesus stood on the Mount of Olives and beheld the city, He wept and the words came out of His mouth, “And when He was come near, He beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, if thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee: and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” Luke 19:41–44
This terrible choice was made by the Jewish nation, which will affect them to the end of time. The final choice was made in one day, but the preparation for this decision was blindness that had been developing through years of rebellion against the will of God.
The Elijah message was preached by Brothers’ Jones and Waggoner during the conference at Minneapolis in 1888. Little did the Adventist leaders realize the importance of this message—that the destiny of the church was hanging on the acceptance or rejection of this message of Christ’s righteousness. If they had accepted this message, it would have brought reformation into the church, but they ridiculed and rejected it, and Sister White writes that they committed sin against the Holy Spirit, sin that has no forgiveness. Instead of returning to faithfulness the church continued into deeper apostasy. Individually we all face the Elijah message, and we must decide for or against it. Elijah was preaching “How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him.” 1 Kings 18:21
The choice may not be between atheism and religion; no, the choice may be between one point of the law that we may lightly esteem. One thing that the Lord has spoken in the Bible, or in the Testimonies, if it is disregarded, it is enough to take our salvation away.
Adam and Eve disobeyed God in only one point, eating the forbidden fruit, and this was enough for them to be cast out of paradise, and to die. Ancient Israel did not reject God, nor His religion, but mixed His service with errors, and idol worship. The choice today is to serve God only, or try to serve two masters; it is between 100% obedience to God or 99% service to Him, and this decision will decide our eternal destiny.
Satan is tempting us to give to God only a half service. He has covered the beginning of his way with beautiful flowers, with fun and entertainment, but the end of his way is bitter. Millions of children and young people blindly follow the great deceiver, giving their hearts and souls to the enemy of righteousness, and Christ and His angels have to turn away sadly, yet these people profess religion and go to churches. The persecuting powers in the Middle Ages were religious, but their obedience was not 100%.
Cain was religious, offering sacrifices to God, but yet he killed his brother. King Saul was religious but yet disobeyed God. Judas was a disciple of Jesus yet he loved money more than God. We may be religious, and be church members, but our service to Him may be tainted with the love of the world.
Are there men, women, and children today who make their choice to follow Christ 100%, without reservation, or conditions, who do not compromise, but stand firm for the truth and righteousness, and would rather die than commit the smallest sin?
The song that was mentioned in the beginning continues, “Then to side with truth is noble, when we share her wretched crust, Then it is the brave man chooses While the coward stands aside. Though the cause of evil prosper, yet ‘tis truth alone is strong. Though her portion be the scaffold, and upon the throne be wrong. Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown, Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above His own.”
Today, make a full surrender to Christ, your Saviour, and you will never regret it; you will be the happiest person in the world. Amen.